Young thanked the jurors but declined comment after the week-long trial concluded for Shams Emil Masters, 34.
The jury convicted Masters on Monday in Young's murder. Young, 18, was found face down in a grove of trees on Cedarwood Circle in the Woodlands Estates subdivision in southern Smith County in February 1999.
Masters was 20 at the time of the killing. Masters was extradited in April from a federal prison in Colorado to stand trial, where he was serving time for seven bank robberies.
Several days after his body was found, detectives determined Young died of a gunshot wound to the head. According to a Tyler Morning Telegraph story in 1999, the original arrest warrant affidavit stated Masters believed Young stole several hundred dollars from his home during a Super Bowl party. The original warrant said a friend of Masters said Young would “get what was coming to him.”
Masters will have to finish serving his 17-year federal prison sentence for bank robbery before he can begin serving his life sentence for the 1999 murder, Smith County Judge Christi Kennedy ruled Tuesday after the verdict was pronounced.
Masters, who has multiple misdemeanor convictions against him in Smith and Tarrant counties, began serving the federal bank robbery sentence in 2008, Judge Kennedy said in court.
Both of Young's parents, who were called by prosecutors, testified during the sentencing phase of Masters' trial and talked about how their lives changed since their son's death. Rosilyn Young cried as she testified about she had been “overwhelmed by sadness and pain” since her son was found dead. She said Young would have been 31 now had he lived.
“I feel so empty. I miss him so much and I think of him every day,” Mrs. Young told the jury.
William Young told jurors that his son was a “great kid” and that the death of the junior Young had “affected him immensely.” “I have re-lived it every day; no one is the same,” he said of the death and its effect on his family.
Defense attorney Melvin Thompson told the jury before that they should only consider the murder conviction as they considered punishment of his client. “Take the character of the witnesses you saw testify into account when assessing punishment in this case,” he said.
Thompson was referring to the past drug use of many of the witnesses who testified against his client earlier in the trial. “There was no direct evidence that Masters committed this offense,” he said.